Thursday, June 20, 2024
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New classrooms, facilities for Northern students

Around 1,200 students and 75 staff from seven schools in the Northern Division will start their school year tomorrow with new classrooms and other school facilities built with support from the Australian Government.

Following Tropical Cyclone Yasa in December 2020 and Tropical Cyclone Ana in January 2021, the schools sustained damages to their classrooms, administration blocks, washroom facilities, and teachers’ housing, meaning students attending these schools had to use temporary learning spaces such as tents, community halls, and dormitories.

With funding through the Australian Government’s Cyclone Recovery Program, the school facilities have been rebuilt with climate-resilient infrastructure, including solar power and rainwater harvesting, as well as new accessibility features.

They have also been designed to provide the surrounding communities with a safe space during future cyclones.

Locally led development has been at the heart of the program. Local contractors, AAPi Designs, NRW McCallan, Pacific Building Solutions and Capital Construction, were contracted to bring this project to life utilising local labour and locally sourced materials.

The seven schools are Bua District School, Dama District School, Dreketi Primary School, Maramarua Primary School, Nukubolu Primary School, Ratu Luke Memorial Primary School, and Wailevu West District School.

The program is also supporting the reconstruction of damaged facilities at Lekutu Primary School and Lekutu Secondary School, which are expected to be completed by June this year.

Nitia Narain, the Head of School for Bua District School, reflected, “We went through challenging days after TC Yasa, and we were thinking about how we would get back to the classrooms. The assistance from the Australian Government has taught our community the level or standard of work that we can do for our children to ensure a conducive learning environment for them and good WASH facilities which children need in schools.”

Australian High Commissioner to Fiji and Special Envoy for the Pacific and Regional Affairs, Ewen McDonald, said, “To see children starting the 2024 school year in new classrooms is something we should all be proud of. The communities across Vanua Levu have partnered with us to build these incredible new facilities.”

“All new buildings are certified to withstand category 5 cyclones and have been designed with student learning as front of mind.”

He said Australia is committed to strengthening education outcomes in Fiji, as reflected in the Fiji-Australia Vuvale Partnership and providing conducive learning spaces for the students and teachers was a key priority for support following TC Yasa.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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